In INSIGHTS by Erik Pema Kunsang13 Comments

Longchenpa is not only one the most prolific and brilliant philosophers in Buddhist Himalaya to appear in more than a millennium, he is also regarded as truly and completely enlightened. Many of his books describe how it is to be enlightened, seen from the inside. He could explain dharmakaya in incredible detail. This short text contains his last words, his testament, for all meditators who want to follow in his footsteps and attain the same level of realization. These words are regarded as pure gold, as he said, “Even if you were to have met me in person, I would have had no superior advice to give you.”

Mirror to Reflect the Most Essential
Longchen Rabjam’s The Final Instruction on the Ultimate Meaning

Single embodiment of compassionate power and activities,
in the infinite mandalas of all-encompassing conquerors,
glorious guru, supreme lord of a hundred families,
forever I pay homage at your feet.

Ema! Listen here, you fortunate yogis.
At present we have achieved the perfect human body of freedoms and riches. We have met the precious teachings of the greater vehicle. We now have the independence to genuinely apply the sacred dharma, so do not squander your life on pointless things. Instead, pursue the lasting goal.

The categories of teachings are endless. The entrance doors to the vehicles are innumerable. The words to be explained are extensive. Even if you succeed in memorizing millions of volumes of dharma scriptures, unless you are able to practice the essential meaning, you can never be sure that they will help you at the moment of death. And even if your education in studies and reflections is boundless, unless you succeed in being in harmony with the dharma, you will not tame your enemy, negative emotions. Even if you succeed in being the owner of a trillion worlds, unless you can curtail your plans from within with the feeling that nothing more is needed, you will never know contentment. Unless you prepare yourself with the attitude that your death could happen at any time, you cannot achieve the great aim that is surely needed at the time of death.

You must tame your own shortcomings and cultivate impartial pure perception, for a biased attitude will not let you shoulder the Mahayana teachings. Since all the sentient beings among the six classes in the three realms have without exception been your own parents, unless you make pure aspirations with ceaseless compassion and bodhichitta, you cannot open the jewel mine of altruistic actions. Unless you generate a devotion toward your kind guru exceeding even that of meeting the Buddha in person, you will not feel the warmth of blessings. Unless you genuinely receive the blessings, the seedlings of experience and realization will not sprout. Unless realization dawns from within, dry explanations and theories will not help you achieve the fruit of enlightenment.

In short, unless you mingle your mind with the dharma, it is pointless to merely sport a spiritual veneer. Keep to the bare necessities for sustaining your life and warding off the bitter cold; reflect on the fact that nothing else is really needed. Practice guru yoga and supplicate one-pointedly. Direct every spiritual practice you do to the welfare of all sentient beings, your own parents. Whatever good or evil, joy or sorrow befalls you, train in seeing it as your guru’s kindness.

Within the vastness of spontaneous self-knowing, let be freely, uncontrived and free of fabrication. Whatever thoughts arise, be sure to recognize your nature so that they all dissolve as the play of dharmata. Even though you practice in such a way that there is not even as much as a hair tip of a concrete reference point to cultivate by meditating, do not stray into ordinary deluded diffusion, even for a single moment. Instead, make sure that every aspect of your daily activities is embraced by an undistracted presence of mind. Whatever occurs and whatever you experience, strengthen your conviction that they are all insubstantial and magical illusions, so that you can experience this in the bardo as well.

In short, at all times and in every situation, make sure that whatever you do turns into the sacred dharma and dedicate every virtuous action toward enlightenment. By doing so, you will fulfill your guru’s wishes and be of service to the Buddha’s dharma; you will repay your parents’ kindness and spontaneously accomplish the benefit of yourself and others. Please keep this in your heart. Even if you were to have met me in person, I would have had no superior advice to give you, so bring it into your practice in every moment and in every situation.

About the Author
Erik Pema Kunsang

Erik Pema Kunsang

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Translator of ancient Buddhist scriptures, author, bridge-builder to modern life, Buddhist teacher & meditation instructor. Board of director at 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Founder of Rangjung Yeshe Publications and LEVEKUNST art of life. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author. Erik's website & retreats.

Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang. Featured image by Mar Dais, United States.
Recommended reading: books by and about Longchenpa.

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    Hello Pema la,
    I just returned from Samye Chumpu, and met a Tibetan lady who was from Longchen Rabjampa’s village .. she called it Tashi Ling, to know that he was there and we so close was lovely .. and to hear your great translations here and in many other works .. we are so greatful and May this benefit countless others on their journey to enlightenment; Kadingche la from bhutan ; Dawa Penjor

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    A wonderful complete teaching. Thank you for sharing

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    Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring work. Levekunst is so full of gems. Joy and inspiration…

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    So extremely precious!
    With palms touching, I thank you

  5. Sonia Gomes

    Just amazing! Thank you for translating such precious texts, Erik!
    Longchenpa was brilliant and so Inspiring!

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    Thanks to all translations from Longchenpa, he is just a treasure source of inspiration

  8. Pingback: LONGCHENPA’S FINAL INSTRUCTION | LEVEKUNST art of life | A Rosemont Way ~ A Journey Awakening

  9. Adam

    “Whatever good or evil, joy or sorrow befalls you, train in seeing it as your guru’s kindness.”

    So helpful just that little sentence 🙂

  10. Kay

    Weeks ago you send me the levekunst link and articles like this one, reminds me of our times at Nagi Gompa, sitting close to Rinpoche’s box and listening to the great yogi and your translations. Living since many years in retreat in the Himalayas, sitting in a box as well, your work on translations and your wonderful new set up to share and communicate with others are an ongoing source of inspiration.
    Thank you for your work over the decades and this new beautiful medium, connection with others, giving access to these sources.

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    I sincerely thank you for sharing this most profound teaching. Sharing of such profound teachings can certainly help those who are lost on the path. Once again thank you.

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